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This 33-1 outsider can run a MASSIVE race in a truly blockbuster 2000 Guineas

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FOR thousands of years the city of Troy was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt at a huge cost to human life.

But today, at Newmarket, it’s the possible sacrifice of a rather different type that might be the biggest threat to racing’s potential equine star who bears the same name.

Haatem could not have been more impressive in winning the Craven

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Haatem could not have been more impressive in winning the CravenCredit: Getty

The Aidan O’Brien-trained CITY OF TROY will go off short odds for the first Classic of the season, the Qipco 2000 Guineas, live on ITV.

As an outstanding champion juvenile, City Of Troy was the dashing hero of the Group 1 Dewhurst, which is always seen as the ultimate two-year-old contest.

And of Saturday’s expected ten rivals, trailing in his wake were the re-opposing Alyanaabi, Haatem and Iberian.

If the Trojan War proved pivotal for the ancient city, then Haatem could be the nemesis for Coolmore’s son of Justify, the US Triple Crown hero.

The question for trainer Richard Hannon is whether he will offer up Haatem as a spoiler to help his main challenger Rosallion.


My Saturday NAP

Pisanello (2.40 Thirsk)

He was unlucky not to win this last season for trainer David O’Meara. He goes well fresh and has a solid claimer in the saddle.

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Being mischievous, I’m thinking back to that famous Cheltenham Gold Cup when Golden Freeze (stable companion to the more fancied Toby Tobias) hassled hotpot Carvill’s Hill.

You see, City of Troy is a strong, strong stayer.

He’s been talked about in terms of landing the British Triple Crown, which includes the Derby over a mile and a half and the St Leger over a mile and three-quarters.

A small field Guineas such as this afternoon should prove ideal for a horse who so far has enjoyed going from close to the pace.

But what happens if he’s taken on and harassed?

Haatem appears to be the one who could do that.

He was destroyed in the Dewhurst, but he’s not without talent having won the Vintage Stakes at Goodwoood (from Iberian) as a youngster.

Haatem then returned with a powerful all-the-way success at this track in the Craven.

The mile trip seemed to bring about even further improvement.

Haatem is in different ownership to Rosallion, but surely Hannon is under no illusion the latter is not his best contender.

Under his regular and excellent partner Sean Levey, Rosallion had a Group 1 winner behind when taking the 2023 Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot.

After a flop in the Champagne at Doncaster, where the heavy ground that day was surely to blame, he romped to his own success at the highest level in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp over Arc weekend.

Rosallion comes from off the pace. If Haatem softened up — almost spoiled — City of Troy then Levey’s chance would be greatly increased.

Of course, it could just be City Of Troy is totally different class.

I suspect he will be. The great Ballydoyle hype machine has been running at top revs for some time already and maybe, finally, there is some truth in it.

However, if you are trsting him to do the business at odds-on there are mixed results to consider.

If City of Troy succeeds he will join Frankel (1-2) as one of just two odds-on winners of the first colts’ Classic in the last 30 years.

Before Frankel you have to go back to Zafonic (5-6) in 1993, while both Shadeed (4-5) and Doyoun (4-5) were also odds-on in the 1980s. Nijinsky was 4-7 in 1970.

Major odds-on flops include Apalachee (4-9) and Celtic Swing (4-5).

Whatever the outcome it appears to be a very good Guineas.

Notable Speech is unbeaten and showed blistering pace to score for Charlie Appleby at Kempton last time, while Ghostwriter is also three out of three and banged in the Royal Lodge last season for Clive Cox.

Throw in the two-from-two Night Raider and exciting Task Force and it looks like we are in for a cracker.

Night Raider is handled by Karl Burke, who has a huge chance of taking Sunday’s Qipco 1,000 Guineas with Fallen Angel.

I was impressed with the Group 1 Moyglare heroine when she galloped at Newmarket during the Craven meeting, and she looks set to thrive going over a mile for the first time.

That said, the 1,000 Guineas is wide open, with O’Brien praying Ylang Ylang has enough pace, with connections really seeing her as more of an Oaks candidate.

I’m happy, however, to keep the faith with DANCE SEQUENCE, who was defeated by Pretty Crystal in the Nell Gwyn.

The Appleby runner was green as grass that day, and will surely improve a bundle. I’ll support her each-way as I suspect there is much more to come.

Dance Sequence landed the Oh So Sharp Stakes in October, and Oh So Sharp remains the most amazing 1,000 Guineas heroine I have ever seen.

What a weekend. I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. Yeeehaaa!

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